There has been a fall in the number of people arrested for drink/drug driving over the Christmas period in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) area.
Figures released by the PSNI show that 29 drivers were arrested in the month between December 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023 – as opposed to 36 people in the same period the previous year.
The Newry, Mourne and Down district recorded identical results to ABC for both years while in Mid Ulster, the number arrested rose from 35 to 42.
The highest number of arrests were made in Belfast (54), while Ards and North Down experienced the biggest decrease in arrests (from 27 to 14).
Police said the Christmas Drink Drive campaign resulted in a total of 308 people being arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving – nine more than during the same period last year.
Men accounted for the majority (86.4 per cent) of those arrested while almost half of those arrested were between 30 and 49 years old.
The highest evidential breath test reading recorded over the campaign was 157μg/100ml – over four times the legal limit.
The youngest person arrested was 16 years old while the oldest was 83.
Superintendent Gary Busch said, “When we launched our winter drink and drug drive operation, we warned drivers not to take any risks by drinking or taking drugs and driving.
“Unfortunately, 308 people ignored our warning. They now find themselves facing the prospect of starting the New Year with a court appearance and losing their driving licence, which may have a huge impact on their life, that of their family and possibly their career.
“Those 308 arrests reflect 308 occasions where your police service has prevented a potentially serious or fatal road traffic collision.
“It is disappointing that a minority of people continue to disregard the safety of themselves and others, by taking the incredibly dangerous risk of driving after drinking or taking drugs.
“The highest detection was 157μg/100ml, over four times the legal limit of 35μg/100ml. This detection is not only one of the highest recorded, but also one of the most shocking.”
He added: “Our message is clear. Never ever drink and drive. Just one drink can impair decision making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.
“We will continue to focus our operational activity on road safety issues. We all share the roads. This means we all share the responsibility for road safety.
“Slow down. Pay greater attention to your surroundings. Always wear your seat belt and never drive after drinking or taking drugs.”